FOXP3+/CD68+ ratio within the tumor microenvironment may serve as a potential prognostic factor in classical Hodgkin lymphoma.

Journal: Human Immunology

Classical Hodgkin lymphoma (CHL) is characterized by extensive inflammatory immune cells, which predict the disease prognosis. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the significance of different tumor-infiltrated immune cells and subpopulation ratios observed in the tumor microenvironment of CHL, particularly relating to the disease's prognosis-focusing on overall survival (OS) and event-free survival (EFS). Utilizing immunohistochemistry, the quantification and exploration of selected immune cells' subsets, including CD3+, CD4+, CD8+, FOXP3+, CD20+, and CD68+ were conducted on 102 histological samples with primary CHL. Eosinophils were pathologically assessed. Besides, we determined the ratios between different tumor-infiltrated immune cells for each patient. Kaplan-Meier method and Cox regression modeling were used for survival analysis. We demonstrated that among all ratios and immune cells individually, only a higher FOXP3+/CD68+ ratio (≥1.36 cutoff) displayed a tendency towards a favorable OS (p = 0.057, HR = 0.43 [0.18-1.02]) and EFS (p = 0.067, HR = 0.44 [0.18-1.06]) using Cox regression modeling. Moreover, the Kaplan-Meier method showed an association of a higher FOXP3+/CD68+ ratio with a longer 5-years OS (p = 0.037) and a tendency to a better EFS (p = 0.051); however, neither the combined FOXP3+ and CD68+ nor FOXP3+ or CD68+ separately was correlated to the CHL survival. Together, these results demonstrated that the FOXP3+/CD68+ ratio could predict the outcomes of CHL, providing more informative significance than FOXP3+ and CD68+ combined or FOXP3+ and CD68+ individually and might be a potential indicator of risk stratification, which has an important value for guiding the clinical treatment.